The Reds, we all know, have certain pieces they should be looking to trade in order to free up spots for other players and/or because they players are unlikely to produce as well as they have in the future.
The two most frequently mentioned pieces are Adam Duvall and Scooter Gennett.
However, if those players are traded, I would imagine many Reds fans who still pay too much attention to traditional stats and who assume those two are likely to repeat their recent performances will be upset.
Take the case of Todd Frazier. Many people believe the Reds didn’t get enough in return for him. But Frazier was coming off an insane year that he almost certainly would never duplicate. And he hasn’t. He has been okay in the two years since the trade and is currently unsigned. There is still a very good chance that Scott Schebler and Jose Peraza produce more than Frazier did in the time he was controlled by the White Sox.
One reason the Reds didn’t get more for Frazier might be that analytics are everywhere now. This has been publicly acknowledged in various places throughout baseball (here’s a good example). No front office thinks Duvall or Gennett are above-average players going forward and they aren’t going to pay for below-average players. They are valuable to teams who really need to fill a hole in a cost-controlled fashion or are looking for bench help.
The reason there have been actual Billy Hamilton rumors is that he’s the most valuable piece likely to be traded. His speed and defense make up for his bat enough that he COULD be above average. And he has been above average in ways that Duvall and Gennett haven’t been. And this is the most important part: EVERYONE KNOWS THIS.
The war is over. Analytics won. Every team uses them. Every team knows which players are likely to provide value going forward and how the players are likely to decline and how much you can expect them to duplicate past performance. Teams aren’t paying someone based off past results anymore. They’re now paying based on projections for the future.
So don’t be surprised when guys like Duvall and Gennett don’t bring much in return, and don’t be surprised if the Reds don’t make a trade because no one is offering anything worthwhile. We all have mostly the same information now. There are secrets, but they are generally not big secrets once a player is in the majors. Everything we’re aware of, every GM in the game is also aware of. It’s getting harder and harder to make a genuine steal.